The arrival of new students at the beginning of the academic year is an exciting time. Now that we’re past the hub-bub of move-in and orientation, the real work is under way. It’s important to remember why these young people are coming to Oberlin. They are here to get a great education with our outstanding faculty.
The extraordinary educational opportunities we provide for Oberlin students reflect a shared enterprise involving our gifted faculty and staff. To kick off this academic year, 150 faculty and staff gathered for a colloquium titled “The Impact of This Oberlin Education.” We heard compelling talks and discussed ways to bring the world into the classroom and the classroom into the world. It was an inspirational day for many of us as we broadly considered the power and promise of a liberal education.
Oberlin continues to attract first-rate teacher scholars. This is a wonderful environment for a faculty member committed to providing in-depth examination of disciplinary topics, as well as broader trans-disciplinary explorations. Our faculty is challenged regularly to refine and rework content and pedagogy in order to cultivate, nurture, and facilitate a learning environment that is inspiring and demanding.
Faculty members come to Oberlin having trained at the finest universities in the world. The college and its students benefit in many ways from the extraordinary scholarly profile of our faculty. Their singular impact on their particular areas of work builds on the longstanding reputational strengths of the college. Many faculty members have created opportunities to involve our students in their scholarly work and/or incorporate their expertise directly into the courses they teach. In this way, teaching and scholarship remain inextricably linked.
Oberlin has a long tradition of exceptional teaching, but our professors are more than great teachers and mentors. They are also recognized for their scholarship and leadership in their chosen fields by their peers. Every year, faculty from the college and conservatory pursue research, give lectures, serve as panelists at national and international conferences, and publish articles, books, and papers.
Over the summer, for example, two of our distinguished faculty members were appointed to important national positions in their fields, and a third received a prestigious lifetime achievement award.
Andrew and Pauline Delaney Professor of Mathematics Susan Colley was appointed by the Mathematical Association of American as to a five-year term as editor of The American Mathematical Monthly. Susan will be the first woman to serve in this role.
The American Mathematical Monthly is a prestigious journal that publishes articles, notes, and other features about mathematics and the profession. Those of you who are mathematics enthusiasts are likely familiar with the math problems it publishes every month. The Monthly’s readership spans the world and a wide range of ages, interests, and mathematical abilities.
Professor of History Carol Lasser was named president-elect of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR). Established in 1977, SHEAR is an association of approximately 1,000 scholars dedicated to exploring events in U.S. history between 1776 and 1861. SHEAR’s mission is to encourage the study of the early republican period among historians, students, and the general public, as well as cultivate productive exchanges between scholars at every level of experience.
Professor Lasser has attended SHEAR conferences since 1983, and has served on the Conference Planning Committee, the Advisory Council, and the Editorial Board of SHEAR’s quarterly publication Journal of the Early Republic. She will be inaugurated as president at its next annual meeting in July 2016.
Over the summer, it was announced that Professor of Jazz Saxophone Gary Bartz will be awarded the BNY Mellon Jazz 2015 Living Legacy Award in a ceremony at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on October 16. The award, sponsored by BNY Mellon, honors living jazz masters who have achieved distinction in jazz performance and education.
Congratulations to Professors Colley, Lasser, and Bartz on their respective achievements. Their work exemplifies the engagement of our faculty with their students and peers here at Oberlin and with the wider world. It speaks to their strength and commitment as teachers and scholars, and, in keeping with Oberlin tradition, as active and engaged citizens. Even as our faculty is undergoing a generational change, it remains the foundation of Oberlin’s greatness.
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